Carpool Goddess » Adventures From Carpool To Empty Nest

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What To Put In A Care Package

The goods.

It’s only been two days since we left Mini-Me at college, and the care package already arrived.

How I know this is because of the ALL CAPS text I received this morning, “OMG, THANK YOU SOOO MUCH! I LOVE IT! YOU’RE THE BEST!” I won’t argue there.

In addition to phone calls and texting, sending a care package with a cute, upbeat note inside is a good way of reminding your child you’re thinking of them. And for moms, that we’re still needed.

It’s also a great way to make friends in your dorm (words spread faster than mono when there’s free food). So instead of feeling sorry for myself and my new empty nester status, I spent half a day finding things she loves to send to her. What you don’t know is that I’ve been waiting years to do this. She didn’t go to sleep-away camp. Now is my chance!

Here are the contents — I call it “Party in a Box”:

Travel Scrabble
Travel Clue
Left, Right & Center Dice
Mad Libs

Girl Stuff:
Leopard sparkle nail decals
Colorful hair-ties
Pretty purple napkins
Beauty products (lip-gloss, fancy shampoo)

Party Food & Some Healthier Fare:
See’s Candies Little Pops
Quaker Oat Chewy Granola Bars
Pretzel chips
Low-Fat Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter Pretzels
Banana Chips
Fruit Juice sweetened gummy bears
Mini-packets of Trail Mix

Some things you might want to add if you’re a mom of boys:
Poker Chips
Backgammon set
Dried fruit
Chocolate covered raisins
BBQ Potato Chips

Best all around:
Homemade baked goods. It’s like a hug from mom. (Or dad, depending on who’s doing the baking.) Bonus points for sending some freshly baked cookies or brownies (without nuts, because they will share) from mama’s kitchen. I always send plenty for them to share with their friends.

P.S. Did I mention that I save boxes from when the friendly UPS and FedEx men make their deliveries? (Online shopping in my pj’s is fun.) Yep, I’ve got a whole closet full of boxes that I use to send care packages, or seasonal things my kids need, but didn’t have room for in their suitcases, like rain boots, winter coats, etc…

My secret stash.

My secret stash. Don’t judge.









Do you send care packages to your kids? What goodies do you put in them?


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  • Michelle Chiklis - You are motivating me to put my package together. I am going to pick up some hair -ties and mad libs.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Carpool Goddess - My pleasure Michelle! It was so fun. I can’t wait until her birthday in October. Let the shopping begin :)ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - Now I feel like a bad mother…My son started classes three days ago and I haven’t sent a thing…Luckily he’s not at the same college as mini-me or I’d be in the dog house. Thanks for the reminder!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - It’s not too late Elaine! Get shopping girlfriend!ReplyCancel

  • Suzette - Great ideas! I still love putting care packages together for my son. I do it for all the holidays, too. At Halloween, I sent him a mini pumpkin and a bag of spider web stuff. This last one was not used to decorate, but to torture a sleeping roomate by wrapping his bunk with it and trapping him behind the neon green web. Ha!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Oh, Halloween, I can hardly wait to do that box! Love the idea of making a package for all the holidays. My hubby will think I’m nuts. LOL!ReplyCancel

  • Christina Simon - Mini-me is very lucky! Beauty products like great smelling lotion are always good.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Beauty products…great idea Christina. She’s a lip gloss lover, so that will be in the next box.ReplyCancel

  • Manic Motherhood - Send me a care package…pretty please?ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - LOL! What’s your address Manic?ReplyCancel

  • Diana - I love care packages, and yours sounded cool and eclectic. Wonder how long those munchies will last once the word gets out.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Thanks, Diana. Her birthday is in October so I’m already thinking of fun things to send her. Anything to keep me busy!ReplyCancel

  • Your Doctor's Wife - I send gift cards for Starbucks and Target. That way I don’t have to pay for shipping. She is always happy to receive them!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Gift cards are a great idea! Thanks, Your Doctor’s Wife :)ReplyCancel

  • BHMom - I sent a care package around finals time. Late night studying brings on the munchies. His had chocolate covered raisins, Newmans pretzels and dried mango. There’s no Whole Foods near campus so he really liked it.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Mmmm…chocolate covered raisins. I think those will be in her next package.ReplyCancel

  • Lane - Love the idea of this care package, but I can’t even think about the day that I have to send our little guy off to college! The tears are already flowing. Definitely bookmark this idea for later :)ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Enjoy your sweet little guy! Don’t worry, you have a looong way to go before college.ReplyCancel

  • Jordan - College would have been so much better with care packages like this. The only thing I ever got were shipments of mashed twinkies from my 80 year old grandmother. Your daughter is so lucky to have you!!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Thanks, Jordan. It was certainly a labor of love putting it together. Mini-Me is very appreciative.ReplyCancel

  • Katie Hurley - You are the CUTEST mom ever!!! I remember those care packages well…I lived for them! My mom always stuck in a bag of tootsie roll pops…great study aid! I just sent my oldest to Kindergarten…so I’m working on my artistic skills while writing little love notes :)ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Thanks, Katie! I used to put love notes in their lunch boxes. So much fun! Sometimes, I’d put in cute napkins too.ReplyCancel

  • Lorena - I want one of these so bad!!! It must be so fun to get this in the mail! Mini- Me is so lucky!!!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Lorena, I had so much fun putting this together. I’m already making a list of what to put in the next one – her birthday is in October :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Maizes - I wish MY mom sent me care packages like this! Wait a second…am I going to have to do this too??? Suddenly I understand my mother better…ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - I’m just a crazy mom trying to stay busy now that the nest is empty. Ack!!! I’ll send you one too :)ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn Savage - Great post! Hope the adjustment to empty nester goes smoothly. I’ll be watching. I’ve got my oldest “on deck”!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Carolyn, so far so good. The afternoons are a little tricky. Good luck with senior year!ReplyCancel

  • Erin Murphy - Great ideas! I suddenly wish I was back in college! The sparkly leopard nail decals are my fave idea!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - I didn’t go away to college, but I wish I did. I would have loved a box like this too.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah|Salt & Nectar - I loved getting care packages from my mom, when in college. DVDs were a great item to find, too (although, I think they were actuall VHS back then…). She was always very cute and sent something extra just for my roommate too. It made everyone feel comforted.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Sarah, I like that idea of sending something just for the roommate too. I told Mini-Me to share her goodies with her roommate and dorm friends. She’s probably having a little party as I write this 😉ReplyCancel

  • Hayley - I send Sharri’s Deluxe chocolate covered strawberries. They are delicious and so fun to receive.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - That sounds yummy! Chocolate covered raisins are good too :)ReplyCancel

  • Pam @Mommacan - I am pretty sure mine will need ample popcorn. It is there go to snack. I love the new Ritz with the cheddar on one side and the pretzel on the other. And I am not sure, but I think laughing cow cheese in the small triangles can be kept in a cool dry place if no fridge is present.

    OMG, it is gross but what about Cheeze in a Can?


    • Carpool Goddess - The popcorn is a great idea. That’s going in the next box.ReplyCancel

  • Mommia - Just mailed my first born his first care package last week $19! I sent practical stuff like envelopes, stamps, mail, new credit and debit cards, socks, undies. Then letters or short notes from siblings. I had siblings pick a food to put in box from the pantry and there was chocolate, granola bars and a can of frosting! ya, not sure about that one but the child who picked it said “i would like it if someone sent me a can of frosting” so I left it in the box with his note :) We sent confetti (who knows), caution duct tape (like police use), 8 pairs of silly glasses (they’ve been making silly videos) and I guess the rest was just snack foods, cash, gift cards oh and I tried to ship cupcakes in the plastic container from the local bakery I thought hey he’ll receive the box in two days it could possibly arrive ok…..well, they were a bit melted but he skyped us and was licking the frosting off the top of the package (after sharing some of course) he didn’t mind the melted cupcakes!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Very clever. I love the clean out the pantry and send it idea! I wish someone would send me frosting, too :)ReplyCancel

  • Helene Cohen Bludman - I love this! It brings back memories of care packages we sent our kids at overnight camp, and actually, the care packages my mother sent me when I went to camp. It’s as much fun putting them together as it is for our kids to receive them, right?ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Great ideas, although the picture of your secret stash is my favorite! I used to have that, too, but I started to get worried that it was a fire hazard!ReplyCancel

  • Jordan Catapano - Seriously? Mom of the Year!!! She will appreciate this forever!ReplyCancel

  • Roshni AaMom - I should remember this! I love all the personal touches you included!ReplyCancel

  • Christina Simon - Linda, this makes me want to send my daughter a care package…she’s on a school trip to Catalina. Of course, I can’t but I miss her like crazy!ReplyCancel

  • Lynne Hetzel Kivimaki - Wow, I want to be your daughter! I am the horrible Mom who never sends a care package. :( You’ve inspired me to do one at some point this year.

  • Sandra Sallin - What great ideas. Love them. The list should be handed out to parents when kids are accepted by colleges. Great list.

    We save our Amazon boxes also.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra Sallin - So impressed with your room fool of boxes. We save them also but put them on the floor of our son’s room. Yours is better. Love the idea of games.ReplyCancel

  • Dakotapam - I just sent a textbook that arrived at our house too late along with some of his favorite candies! (Swedish fish and those gummy cola bottles)ReplyCancel

  • Alex Johnson - You are the best.ReplyCancel

  • Alex Johnson - You are the best.ReplyCancel

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